Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 226: English
Listening to Mother Zhang, both Zhang Siyi and Gu Yu were shocked. If the family wouldn’t bless the love between them, it was like a knife hanging over their heads, ready to wreak havoc.
Furrowing his brows, Gu Yu frowned even deeper. Since he knew it was useless to say anything against her heartfelt words, he didn’t know what to say to appease Zhang Siyi’s mother. He was left with no choice but to use practical action and hope her opinion would change over time, but does she have the patience to wait?
Watching their initial expressions of shock form into despondent looks, Zhang Siyi’s mother sighed. She was awake all-night thinking. Neither did she want to hurt her son, nor did she want to be at odds with her husband.
She knew very well that while she was carrying this secret, she had already boarded her son’s boat. She could only help him hide it from Father Zhang. Poor Old Zhang. If he knew his son and his nobleman, Gu Yu, were a gay couple, he would probably collapse.
If the two of them really can be in love with each other and support each other for the rest of their lives, that is really worth praising. However, she is afraid her son is simply feeling euphoric over the newness of the moment and overtime, will change his mind. Since a same-sex relationship goes against social norms, the road is very difficult in society and the pressure is immense. If one member of the relationship crumbled under the stress, the other person would most likely be seriously injured. In some cases, emotional trauma never heals. As a mother, she was most worried about her son’s wellbeing, now and in the future.
Mother Zhang looked at Gu Yu in the eye and said: “Gu Yu, I will give you six years. Zhang Siyi is twenty-four years old this year. When he reaches thirty, if you are still together, you can ask me again and I will bless you. For the next six years, I will neither say anything to Sisi’s Father nor will I interfere with your relationship. The proof of your feelings; only time will tell.”
Mother Zhang desire to appease the situation greatly surprised Gu Yu. Yes, empty promises prove nothing. For as long as it takes, three years, six years, ten years, twenty years, as long as they could be together, time is the most powerful proof.
Gu Yu looked admiringly at the wise woman in front of him. His gratitude was indescribable.
Mother Zhang was very smart and sensible. She knew that a person’s preference can affect judgment and thus, she didn’t use emotion to kidnap affection. As she wasn’t in a position to judge them right from wrong, she didn’t want to give them false hope.
Giving them time was truly the most fare. Not only was it the most responsible thing to do, it was the best way to protect Zhang Siyi and her family.
Gu Yu hadn’t demanded much. Mother’s Zhang’s conditional request was the best result. He grabbed Mother Zhang’s hand again and earnestly said: “I will prove it to you.”
Zhang Siyi’s Mother awkwardly pulled her hand out from his grasp and said: ”Instead of telling me not to worry, you might want to explain it to your own parents. You are older than Zhang Siyi. Although you have a younger sister, you are the eldest son in the family. Have they not urged you to marry? How likely are they to accept your relationship?”
Gu Yu and Zhang Siyi smiled at each other than addressed Mother Zhang: “They already know.”
Zhang Siyi’s mother was shocked: “What!?”
Gu Yu explained: “They have long known my sexuality. This year they were very happy that I was able to bring Siyi back home with me for New Years. You can rest assured; they are very fond of Siyi.”
Although Gu Yu didn’t completely tell the truth for the fact that they tried to hide the nature of their relationship in the beginning, Zhang Siyi understood Gu Yu’s reasoning. He wanted Zhang Siyi’s mother to be completely at ease. Zhang Siyi didn’t want to elaborate and looked away evasively.
In a moment, Mother Zhang’s whole world collapsed. God, what the hell did she do? Not only did she cheerfully send him to the Gu family for the New Year, she made him bring so many gifts. Now that Gu Yu has invested in Zhang Siyi education, wasn’t it basically the same as a dowry? She unknowingly gave her son away!
As they were finishing their conversation, Father Zhang appeared from the bathroom. After he ate his breakfast leisurely, he took the newspaper to read while going to the bathroom. Not knowing he had missed the most news-worthy news, he calmly waltzed over.
With remorse, Zhang Siyi’s mother looked pensively at Father Zhang. If Old Zhang knew while away on vacation that their son went to greet his new in-laws and perhaps even called them Mom and Dad, she thought Old Zhang would probably have disowned their son!
Father Zhang saw Gu Yu and Zhang Siyi with mother Zhang sitting on the sofa together. Walking towards them he casually asked: “Ah, you are still here….. What are you three chatting about?”
Without missing a beat, Gu Yu smoothly moved over and calmly said: “I’m listening to Zhang Siyi tell me about England. I haven’t been there. Uncle, please sit.”
Mother Zhang: “…” This god acting! (= _ =)
“Oh?” I haven’t even heard much of it either. “Father Zhang snorted like he was greatly offended and moved to sit down. He complained: “This boy of mine told his mother everything, but not to me. He probably doesn’t even pay attention to me. Gu Yu, you don’t know it, but even though he is all grown up, last night he was hiding in his room with his mother crying about going abroad. You tell me, what is wrong with them?”
Mother Zhang: “…”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Gu Yu: “…”
Father Zhang shook his head and said: “My child from a young age has been spoiled by his mother. You will have to bear with it some more.”
Gu Yu smiled and said: “Well, Uncle, you can rest assured. I will take good care of him.”
Father Zhang nodded continuously and urged Gu Yu to take care of him in the future.
Hearing Father Zhang’s profound proclamation without knowing anything, Mother Zhang stood up suddenly. She couldn’t take it anymore and went to leave the room.
Worried about his mother’s state of mind, Zhang Siyi got up as well. He followed her and called out: “Mom….”
“What are you doing with me?” Mother Zhang grumbled.
Zhang Siyi heard the troubled tone of his Mother’s voice and stepped closer to hug her. From behind, as she was smaller than himself, he wrapped his arms around her warmly and apologized: “Mom, I’m sorry…” He kissed her cheek then softly said: “Thank you.”
The sincere apology and thanks finally made Mother Zhang feel better. However, the huge stone in her heart wasn’t completely put aside. Reaching for Zhang Siyi’ hands, she held them and continued her nagging. On one hand, she was curious about Gu Yu’s parents’ true attitude toward Zhang Siyi. On the other hand, she was worried that her son would be taken away by Gu Yu completely. After thinking it over, she still insisted that Zhang Siyi should pay for his own tuition and not rely on Gu Yu.
Father Zhang didn’t know when, but during his chat with Gu Yu, he noticed his wife and son had left the sofa. He stood up to go over to them and as he rounded the corner he watched them hug together emotionally. Father Zhang was so angry he glared at them and said: “Look, you see what he is like; all his life and he can’t be separated from his mother! When will he ever grow up!”
Mother Zhang: “…”
Now that the Zhang family gave them an all clear, Gu Yu informed his family of their plans. His parents naturally had no objections. When they heard that both of them were going to study abroad together, they expressed their full support.
After the festival, the two returned to Haicheng by car. Since Gu Yu’s acceptance was conditional on the basis of his English fluency, before he could confirm his admission and sign his acceptance letter, Gu Yu needed time to prepare for the IELTS. The University required international students be proficient in English with a total score of seven and with nothing less than six and a half in each part of the language test.
It took a lot of effort on Zhang Siyi’s part when he prepared for his exam before he went abroad. He barely reached the requirements even after taking the exam twice. Although the IELTS exam would be easy for him now, he still remembered how much he had struggled at the time.
To ensure he was well prepared, Gu Yu purchased a few study aids and practice tests on the internet. After work each day, he used the reference books and reviewed them at home in the evenings before bed. A score of seven on the IELTS wasn’t easy to achieve. Since it was tough to improve quickly with such a short amount of time, the listening and spoken part of the exam was particularly difficult. He studied for two weeks before he went to an official testing site in Haicheng.
Knowing what it was like when he took the exam, especially now that Gu Yu told him how little English he has been in contact with since his own Master’s degree, Zhang Siyi worried incessantly. Since Gu Yu had been very busy at work, he wasn’t able to study very much. At most, he reviewed the vocabulary words with Zhang Siyi for an hour each night. The time spent studying was woefully inefficient. More concerning for Zhang Siyi was the fact that two days before the exam, Gu Yu still hadn’t completed the practice questions. Zhang Siyi knew better than to question Gu Yu’s ability to learn quickly, however he couldn’t stop himself from worrying.
On the day of the test, Zhang Siyi personally escorted Gu Yu to the examination room. Holding the door open, he said: “Come on, don’t be nervous!”
Gu Yu gave him a perplexed glanced and chuckled: “Me, nervous?”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Gu Yu reached out to rub his head and calmly said: “Don’t be nervous. Go back and wait for me at home.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Two weeks later, Gu Yu received his test results. The score for each section was eight, nine, seven and seven, and his total IELTS score was an eight.
Zhang Siyi stared at his results and said in disbelief: “You! How did you do that!”
Gu Yu wondered: “Do What?”
Zhang Siyi: “Didn’t you say you haven’t used English for many years? How did you score so well!”
Since Gu Yu didn’t understand what the big deal was, he asked: “Haven’t I been reviewing for the past two weeks?”
Zhang Siyi: “…” Looking at words while chatting with him was called reviewing?”
Pointing at the score, Zhang Siyi commented: “I haven’t heard you say more than a few words of English these past few days. How can you score a 7 on the spoken language section!?”
Gu Yu tilted his head in confusion: “Isn’t it just a matter of chatting with the examiner to test your spoken language proficiency? He asked all the usual questions.”
Zhang Siyi pursed his lips together then suddenly reacted: “Were you good at English when you were in college?”
Gu Yu: “It was okay.”
What his criteria was for a so-called ‘ok’, Zhang Siyi didn’t know. He pressed Gu Yu and asked: “Up to what level did you study English in college? What was your GPA ?”
Gu Yu: “I don’t really remember, but I know it was almost full marks so I got a 4.0.”
Zhang Siyi: “…” Sure enough! This type of school bully needs a beating! (= 皿 =)
Putting away the transcript, Gu Yu smiled: “IELTS was very simple. While I was at University studying for my Master’s degree, I needed to read many books written in English in order to write my thesis. Those books were much more difficult than the language proficiency exam.”
Zhang Siyi doesn’t want to talk anymore. He shut the door and left with the dog! Give me back my worries!
Now that his results were official, Gu Yu signed his acceptance proposal and sent it back. In addition, they also mailed the necessary documents to the appropriate government officials for their student Visas.
At the end of June, since their Visas were approved without problems, there was nothing to worry about. No one at work knew both Zhang Siyi and Gu Yu were leaving the company. Whether it was their colleagues in the same department, board members, or even their close friend, Tao Fei, the company’s staff was in the dark.
It wasn’t until mid-July that Zhang Siyi began working with colleagues to transfer his work load onto others. Only then did someone realize the fact that Zhang Siyi was going back to the UK to study for a master’s degree. After the news was confirmed in private, like a dropped boulder in a calm lake, a thousand waves stirred everyone up.
“What!?!? Our company’s mascot is leaving!?!?”